Habitat Catawba Valley Welcomes a New Homeowner in Ridgeview


Hickory, NC (October 21, 2023)-

On a Saturday afternoon, Habitat hosted a homecoming ceremony in the heart of the Cottages at Ridgeview neighborhood, for their newest homeowner, Epemenio Mendoza, or Epi to his friends. Joined by his son Manny, Epi received his keys to a brand new life in his home. With the newfound sense of safety and security that comes with homeownership, Epi is looking forward to flexing his culinary muscles, hosting friends and family, and providing a place his boys can always come back home to.

To Epi, ‘Home’ means having a safe place to have all of his kids together with him under one roof. Homeownership has always been a big presence in Epi’s life. The other big presence is family. His parents still own their own home in Los Angeles. And it was his sister-in-law who first introduced Epi to Habitat. He wanted to pass that same stability of home and family on to his sons. Out of all his accomplishments, Epi is most proud of raising his children on his own.

Originally from Los Angeles, CA, Epi moved to the Hickory area in search of more affordable living, less congestion, and great opportunities for his family. He already had a connection to Newton where family members lived, and no longer needs to live with his sister-in-law as his brand new home is fully complete.


“Owning my own home will show my kids that hard work pays off. It will give my kids the change to focus on education and not where they will live or who they will have to live with.”

Epi’s home, the newest addition to Habitat Catawba Valley’s “Cottages at Ridgeview” neighborhood, boasts 3 bedrooms and 2 baths, and 1300+ feet of single level living area. His home is unique in that it features a solar panel installation, generously donated and installed through a partnership with Advanced Energy and Southern Energy Management Inc. Having the ability to generate a portion of the power consumed in the household is an amazing benefit, and will help to keep his heating and cooling bills down during peak usage months. While Habitat Catawba Valley primary focus is to make homeownership accessible through an affordable mortgage, the organization also believes energy efficiency is an important factor in home affordability.

Last year, new Habitat homebuyers were guaranteed $32 per month average heating and cooling costs for the first two years of their residency. Why? Because affordability isn’t just about what a homeowner can buy – it’s also about what they can maintain. By pursuing efficiency, Habitat Catawba Valley builds energy savings into the life of the home, and builds environmental stewardship into the life of our community.

Other Habitat projects in the community include a new 3 tiered construction model, aimed at serving more families faster. “Last year, we received 367 homeownership inquiries. That’s more than a family a day seeking more secure shelter,” explains Habitat Catawba Valley Executive Director Mitzi Gellman. “We know the need for affordable housing outpaces any individual organization’s ability to provide it on their own. The traditional Habitat construction model of a small staff and willing but unskilled volunteers was not designed for today’s housing demand.”

That’s why Habitat Catawba Valley has joined with key partners to diversify its construction model, increase its capacity, and participate in larger, more coordinated projects. This tiered construction model includes traditional Habitat construction where Habitat is the sole builder, hybrid construction where a contractor frames the house and Habitat finishes it, and turnkey construction where a contractor builds the house from start to finish.

Today, Habitat Catawba Valley currently has homes underway in all three tiers of this construction model – including Ridgefield Place in Ridgeview. This project is a public, private, non-profit partnership between Habitat Catawba Valley, The City of Hickory, and JRN Development slated for 21 new construction affordable homes.

What will the future hold for Habitat’s newest homeowners?

For Epi and family, ‘Home’ means having a safe place to have all of his kids together with him under one roof. “Owning my own home will show my kids that hard work pays off. It will give my kids the change to focus on education and not where they will live or who they will have to live with.”

For more information on the Cottages at Ridgeview and ways to get involved, contact Habitat Catawba Valley at 828-328-4663 x 106 or visit www.habitatcatawbavalley.org 

About Habitat Catawba Valley
Founded in 1985, Habitat for Humanity of Catawba Valley is a non-profit, ecumenical Christian housing organization dedicated to building strength, stability, and self-reliance through shelter.

People in our community partner with Habitat Catawba Valley to build or improve a place they can call home. Habitat homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage. Through financial support, volunteering, or adding a voice to support affordable housing, everyone can help families achieve security they need to build better lives for themselves. Through shelter, we empower. To learn more, visit www.habitatcatawbavalley.org or call 828-328-4663 x 106.

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